Friday, April 14, 2017

Kindergarten: Weeks 34 & 35

Weeks 34 and 35 included Palm Sunday and Easter. Here is Gemma, ready to sing Hosanna.
Once a week, my husband takes Gemma to a state park, to meet up with a group of friends, so they can tinker and explore. Over my spring break, I got to take her. I had such a good time watching her and the other 4 and 5 year olds playing on the other side of the creek.
While we were there, I saw this...
It's a male belostomatid: a giant water bug. A female belostomatid laid her eggs on his back, and he's now got to carry them around until they hatch!

There were also rusty tussock moth caterpillars all over the place.
This one was crawling around on the adding machine the kids were using screwdrivers to disassemble.
Over spring break, we visited family. 

Here is Gemma, at Grandma and Poppa's, using binoculars to observe a dove in the nest above the birdhouse on the patio.
Grandma thought it would be a good idea to learn how to twist balloon animals. I am now an expert balloon-dog-maker.

We dyed eggs...
...and Gemma spent lots of time in the jacuzzi.
Back at home, Gemma made soap...
Six of our pots of bulbs sprouted!
Gemma went to the Renaissance Faire, but more on that in a future post...

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kindergarten Weeks 32 & 33

Spring has sprung! We've been enjoying the beautiful weather, as well as Life of Fred: Jellybeans (we're 3/4 through), The Trumpet of the Swan, ladybugs, dissecting Asiatic lilies, nature walks, the aquarium (that's a sea lion skull), biking to the beach with Daddy, playing in the sand, dance class (the June recital is fast approaching!), hopscotch, nature journaling, a Sunday School lesson about The Last Supper, climbing a California sycamore, learning to play "Minuet & Trio" on piano, singing songs from Wee Sing Around the World (highly recommend!), finishing a month of swim lessons (big improvements in coordination and focus), and so much more...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Review of Channie's Visual Handwriting from Educents

My daughter, Gemma, is 5 ¾ (yes, three-quarters). When it comes to homeschooling styles, I lean toward the Charlotte Mason method, which means that we haven’t officially begun “school.” Charlotte Mason believed that a child should have “a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive, receptive life.” While I can’t claim to have given Gemma six years without academics, I can say that I’ve put off teaching her to write.
Now in the homestretch of kindergarten, Gemma’s public school friends, are writing complete sentences using uppercase and lowercase letters. While I don’t feel pressured to get her caught up, when presented with the opportunity to try Channie’s Visual Handwriting Workbooks for free, I was quick to say yes.
Read all about our experience with Channie's Visual Handwriting Workbooks from Educents here.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Superbloom! (Kindergarten Week 30)

We took a drive to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see the wildflowers. Because of all the rain we've gotten this winter, this year is a "superbloom."

Here are some of the flowers we saw...
...beavertail cactus...
...desert dandelions, desert sunflowers, sand verbena flowers, and dune evening primroses...
...parish poppies (yellow, upper left), monkeyflower (upper right), Arizona lupine (lower right), and chuparosa...
My husband, Pete, is showing Gemma a spider attacking a caterpillar. The large plant (right) is an ocotillo. We saw lots of ocotillos in bloom with flowers like candle flames.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kindergarten Weeks 30 & 31

Gemma has been learning to play two songs on the piano - Fur Ludwig (an easy version of Fur Elise) and Amigos (which gives her practice at moving from C position to G position).

We're enjoying our current read aloud: The Trumpet of the Swan.
Gemma's dance class learned more of their tap routine for the June recital.
Gemma learned how to use a glue gun, and Daddy surprised her with one of her very own. ("It's just what I've always wanted! Best present ever!")
Here is a picture of Gemma doing a page of Mathematical Reasoning for fun before bed. In Life of Fred: Jellybeans, Gemma is on chapter 11.

Our theme for Little Explorers this month was insects. One lesson was about bees, and the kids made beeswax candles. Another lesson was titled Insects vs. Spiders, and the kids (and moms) learned some of the differences between the two animals.

I came home from work one day to find this...
We went to swim lessons.
We went on a field trip to the desert to see the superbloom (Week 30), and stopped into an ice cream shop to cool off.
Then we drove home through the town of Julian, which has daffodils everywhere...
...and a camel dairy! (There was a sign advertising camel chocolate milk. Did you know there was such a thing?) I think that one of those camels may be the camel Gemma and I rode in October.
At one point, I caught Gemma wearing this while doing a floor puzzle...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Kindergarten Weeks 28 & 29

Here are a few things we've done the past two weeks...

Gemma did two art projects at CC. One was Degas-inspired, and the other was Morisot-inspired.
We finished reading Ronia: The Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. It was wonderful.
Gemma learned more of her routine for her dance recital in June.
She played songs in Alfred Piano Prep Level D, as well as old favorites.

Here she is practicing the monkey bars after church...
...and climbing a tree.
We built marshmallow and pretzel "insects," with 3 body parts (head, thorax, abdomen), and 6 legs (on the thorax).
And swim lessons started up again!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Kindergarten Weeks 26 & 27

It has been so rainy the past few weeks!

Reading: It looks like this will be the year that Gemma reads the entire Magic Tree House series. Our current read aloud is Ronja: The Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren; we're halfway through it, and we're both enjoying it immensely. We just finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth. Gemma read about half of it on her own, which amazes me because it's a W (end of 5th grade) reading level. She loved the book and was excited to tell me all about the parts she read while I was at work. If you asked her which book she likes better (Ronja or Tollbooth), I think she would tell you Tollbooth. She loves the absurdity and the adventure.

Math: We are slowly moving through Life of Fred: Jellybeans. We've been learning about unions, intersections, prime numbers, and now decimals!

Gemma had a tiny part in a LACHSA student film. She was in one scene, playing the part of a little girl learning to dance at a cotillion.

At CC, they did Monet-inspired paintings.
At Tinker Group, Gemma learned to use a hammer and nails to make me a string-art Valentine.
She learned to play two new songs - The Magic Man and Yippee Ti Yi Yo.
And we took a field trip to the Getty Villa...